News & Events


The kōtare's call: Pūharakekenui art exhibition


Dates: 11th - 20th August, open 10am - 4pm each day

Location: Christchurch Botanic Gardens Old Information Centre, access from Armagh footbridge. 


The kōtare's call brings together the work of four artists of different disciplines: Lucy Dolan Kang, Timothy J Veling, Bridget Allen and Dr Jo Burzynska. 

Tasked with creatively interpreting the Pūharakekenui/Styx River Catchment as part of the Styx Living Laboratory Trust's Creative Communicator Programme, the artists have explored elements of histories, light, weather, organic material, sound and the biodiversity of the waterway.

Styx Living Laboratory Trust, a local river care group, was granted over $4.1 million in 2021 by the Ministry for Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund. This funding, for a five year work programme named Project Kōtare, includes the employment (alongside Ministry of Social Development’s Jobs for Nature fund) of more than ten staff, with goals to eradicate significant areas of pest plants, and replant both riparian and forest native vegetation. A Creative Communicator is contracted, as part of Project Kōtare, three times per year for a 12 week period, to interpret freshwater values in a creative way to involve and inspire people to consider and care for their local awa environment.

Applications for the next round of 2023/2024 Creative Communicator residencies are now open, closing on September 1st. Intrested in applying? Follow this link for more information -


Styx Living Laboratory Trustees x2


The Styx Living Laboratory Trust (SLLT) is looking for two new enthusiastic volunteer Trustees to join our team! We’re a local river care group that has been operating in the  Pūharakekenui (Styx) Catchment for over twenty years and we are now looking for two new passionate people to help lead our work in the Pūharakekenui Catchment.

About SLLT:

The Trust was formed in 2002 as part of the Christchurch City Council’s Styx Vision 2000-2040 to create a ‘living laboratory’ in the Catchment for learning and research. We achieve this through our environmental education programmes, research projects, environmental monitoring programmes, conservation projects and community outreach.  We also undertake forest and riparian planting, predator, willow and weed control activities. This year we are on target to plant 35,000 trees in the Pūharakekenui (Styx) Catchment!

The Pūharakekenui (Styx) awa is a spring-fed river that starts near Nunweek Park and flows through stunning regional parks and reserves winding through northern Otautahi and emptying 24.8 km away in Brooklands Lagoon. The entire Pūharakekenui Catchment is 7000 ha and is home to many species of freshwater fish, wetland and bush birds(and possibly even the pekapeka(bats)).

Our Team is led by voluntary Trustees who are supported by Staff, Volunteers, MoU Partners and Portfolio Holders to achieve the Trust’s objective of creating a ‘living laboratory’ in the Pūharakekenui.

The Trustee Role -

The Trustee position will involve providing strategic advice and expertise to Senior Management/Staff and supporting the delivery of the Trust’s projects/programmes.

The  minimum time commitment will be approximately 3-4 hours per month (responding to staff email queries) and a monthly Trustees’ meeting that runs from 6pm - 7.30pm on the third Wednesday of each month.

We’re looking for diverse, passionate applicants from all walks of life, backgrounds and expertise. What’s important to us is how you can use your background to help our team manage and protect the Pūharakekenui (Styx) environs. 

How to apply -

If you’re enthusiastic and think you’d make a great addition to our team then we’d love to hear from you, even if you’re not sure if your past experience aligns with this role, we encourage you to get in touch anyway!

To learn more about the Trust visit our website, facebook or instagram

To apply, send a brief description of why you’re interested in joining our team!



23 March 2023 - Field Staff Intermediate Vacancy

The Styx Living Laboratory Trust are seeking a new staff member to join the team working within the Styx Catchment as part of a Freshwater Improvement Fund project. You will support the Field Staff Lead and Programme Manager to undertake ecosystem restoration work.

The work is principally planting and weed control. The planting means being part of a team that plants up to 35,000 plants each year, including site preparation and maintenance of planted areas. The weed control is based around willow control but includes other ecological weeds as necessary. There is additional animal pest control work maintaining traplines, and working with the team to build and maintain fence lines. We also work with tangata whenua to maintain areas of cultural significance.

You will need to be physically fit and enjoy working outdoors in all weather and achieving conservation goals. You will also need to carry out additional tasks such as supporting the community team with events and volunteer days as needed. We are looking for a good team player who has a great work ethic and is health and safety conscious. While experience in ecosystem restoration work is preferred we will provide additional training and mentoring as needed.

This is a great opportunity for a motivated individual to get a good start in a conservation career. Your contract will go through to the end of the project on 30 June 2026.

For further information about the work we do visit Home | The Styx

For further information about the position or to apply contact: Anita Spencer on 0220 773 997, or email:

The Styx Living Laboratory Trust is a Living Wage Employer – Starting salary is $49,192.00 pa.

Applications close: 5pm Wednesday 5th April 2023.

17 August 2022 - eDNA of New Zealand Long-Tailed Bat found in the Styx

05 May 2022 - Newsline article

Check out this Newsline article about our the work we do and our 20th Birthday/opening of our Field Centre.

18 February 2021 - Vacancy on the Styx Trust


The Styx Living Laboratory Trust is searching for a treasurer for our registered charitable trust to join us in protecting the Pūharakekenui (Styx River) and its environs. The Styx Living Laboratory Trust, is a local river care group, which was established in 2000 to achieve Vision 3 (Develop a "living laboratory" that focuses on both learning and research) of the Christchurch City Council`s `Styx Vision 2000 – 2040.’ The Trust has since encompassed a role of guardianship and advocacy for the waterway and the biodiversity of the surrounding land as a living part of the Canterbury landscape. 

Every year over 2000 volunteer hours are clocked up through our tree plantings, water quality & bird monitoring programmes and our annual community events. We, the trustees and volunteers are advocates for maintaining water quality and other values (including drainage, ecology, landscape, culture, recreation, and heritage values) in the river. We care deeply about our water and want it to remain clean, healthy, biodiverse and available for future generations to use and enjoy.



The person who becomes the treasurer will fill a crucial role for our Trust and will work alongside a passionate team of Trustees and volunteers. The treasurer will ensure good fiscal management and planning, decision-making within budgets and oversight of finances at a governance level as well as general involvement in Board of Trustee decisions.

The principle duties are to:
• Oversee the development of financial strategies and their review by the Board of Trustees
• Preparation of the annual budget and maintaining up-to-date regular financial reporting
• Ensure that the appropriate financial statements are regularly reviewed by the Board and advise the Board of any important discrepancies between planned and actual figures
• Assists the Board with preparation of annual reporting to Charities Services
• Keep the Board informed of important financial events, trends, and issues relevant to the organization

The role requires someone with the following attributes:                                                                                  
•  Someone who is passionate about protecting the Styx and keen to get involved with the Styx Living Laboratory Trust
• An understanding of, and experience with, good financial management and reporting practices
• An appreciation of the kind of financial information needed at a Board of Trustee level to support decision making
• An ability to commit the time required to fulfil the responsibilities described

Other information:
There are currently 8 trustees but we are updating our governance structure so this is subject to change. To learn more about us please visit our website -

Please email  with a CV if you are interested in applying for this position or to request more information. We have some very exciting projects on the horizon and we would love to have you on board!


23 September 2020

The annual Styx Living Laboratory Trust AGM was held on Monday night at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. This wonderful and incredibly informative evening was enjoyed by all who came along. During this meeting the Trust discussed its finances, which are currently looking very healthy due to receiving funding from multiple sources. The Trust also discussed its long term plan for the Styx River and how we are on our way to achieving this. The meeting was followed by a number of Pecha Kucha style presentations, 20 slides for 20 seconds each. These covered a wide range of topics from native plantings along the Styx river to details of Julia Rambacher’s upcoming PhDWe would like to thank Willowbank Wildlife Reserve for allowing us to host our meeting there. We would also like to thank everyone who came along and supported the trust at this event. 


May updates

Unfortunately during the Covid-19 lockdown we have been unable to continue monitoring the Styx river as usual.

BUT Christchurch City Council rangers have been out doing their own surveys!

In late April the biodiversity team needed to do an urgent survey of the Canada Goose population and did a comprehensive survey of the Brooklands Lagoon while they were there.

Ranger Andrew Crossland says the wildlife values of Brooklands lagoon have been on a steep rise following the Christchurch earthquakes. He counted 10,413 birds – one of the highest ever counts! This really puts Brooklands Lagoon up there in the rankings of NZ coastal wetlands (alongside our other A++ sites, the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth).

Brooklands Lagoon
Brooklands Lagoon April 2020. Image by Andrew Crossland, Christchurch City Council














Summer in the Styx - February 2020

It was so great to see everyone again this year at Summer in the Styx!

We had an estimated 400 visitors and raised over $1800 for the continued restoration of the Styx river and its surrounds.

Here are just a few photos of the great day out, taken by Styx Living Laboratory Trust and Christchurch City Council.


Kayaking on the river

Planting trees








Lunch?Bird watching








Some woolly visitorsA full car park








October updates



Fantastic day on the Styx tday . . . we kayaked about 2.5 km down Kā Pūtahi Creek (from Guthrie’s Road to the Styx River confluence) to survey post-quake plantings, biodiversity pest plants and birds.

Although it was narrow, Antony Shadbolt, Andrew Crossland, Katie Noakes (CCC ecologists), Simon Rutherford (Styx Living Laboratory Trust) made it to the end with only a few obstacles to clear. They stayed reasonably dry (from the waist up anyway) on this beautiful but often overlooked Christchurch waterway. They also saw some ENORMOUS longfin eels!

























Today Environment Canterbury (ECan) staff visited a few spots on the Styx River and Kā Pūtahi Creek on a ‘cultural tour’. The rongoā Māori site, Te Kōrari Pā Harakeke, the kanakana (lamprey) breeding site have all been developed or managed for their relevance to Māori culture, particularly mahinga kai.

The group finished by planting more than 100 trees down at 608 Marshland Road - hosted by the Styx Living Laboratory Trust and Yvette Williams (CCC Park Ranger) where they were joined by Simon Rutherford and more than 30 pupils from Ouruhia School for more planting.























September planting days


Another 500 native trees and shrubs planted along the Styx/Puharakekenui River at 303 Radcliffe Road



Another day, and another 500 native trees and shrubs planted along the Styx/Puharakekenui River at 303 Radcliffe Road. Thanks to Justin Morgenroth and 50 of his first year students from the University of Canterbury, NZ School of Forestry. Doing our bit for the Climate and Ecological Emergency.



Planting on Marshland road


Today we planted more than 500 trees down at 608 Marshland Road with the team from WSP Opus. This was part of a bigger planting of more than 2000 native trees here - part of a nationwide effort to plant 350,000 trees to commemorate the 350,000 servicemen and women who served overseas since the end of WW1..... and also part of the 1B Trees programme.

Thanks to Beth Baker and the Styx Living Laboratory Trust for organising this.... and to Alice Waterhouse CCC Regional Park Ranger for also being awesome!! Magic day..... and a lot better than the weather forecast!!



Kayaking the Styx


This week we spent three and a half hours kayaking down the Styx River from Redwood Springs to almost Spencer Park with Simon Rutherford, Beth Baker (Styx Living Laboratory Trust) and Alice Waterhouse (Christchurch City Council Park Ranger).

Beautiful river ....very over grown with willow in places (had to get out and drag the boats a few times). We saw Cape Barren geese with young too. Great day, and looking forward to doing it again soon with Ouruhia School this week!



Planting day



Today's planting was part of the Oceania Ecosystem Services Forum, with mostly people from eth Pacific, Indonesia, PNG, Malaysia and some from eth US and elsewhere.

It rained steadily and was freezing cold (especially for those from the tropics) but everyone had a GREAT time planting more than 300 trees under the guidance of Antony, CCC Coastal Ranger Jason Roberts, and rongoa practitioner Aperahama Kipa.



Matariki in the Styx


It was the fifth year in a row for the Matariki Planting at the Rongoa Maori site on Marshland Road. A cold and frosty morning for the 6.45 AM start, but it turned into a brilliant day with lots of trees planted and some nice stories and karakia from Aparahama Kipa.

We broke for a hui and breakfast back at the rangers station at 8.30, and then back for more planting at the more respectable time 10 AM with a bigger group.

However those who miss the early (6.45 AM) sessions each year miss some real magic - planting in the dark, and reading the early morning skyline for signs of a good year to come!